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Topics - alanambrose

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FYI there's some of these cheap on eBay if anyone wants spares. I've bought a couple but have not tested them and the supplier can't give me the provenance - so anyone's guess whether they're good or not. They do look new though. There's only one up there right now but I think the supplier has a bunch. e.g.


RV Hardware / Moving RV
« on: August 10, 2020, 10:19:53 AM »

I need to move my RV, which involves taking it down a couple of steps, round a few corners etc onto a tail lift. Does the arm assembly detach easily to reduce the weight of the overall cart? If so, how?



I failing to understand the relationship between the 'Setup Pcb' & 'Fiducial Correct' dialogs. I should say my 'references' are always the same as my 'fiducials' which are always spare footprints on the bottom left and top right of my pcb.

In 'Setup Pcb' I set the X,Y of Ref 1 & 2. I assume the Z value in this dialog is largely irrelevant, as the next step is to measure the board height? If so - so far, so good - this sort of makes sense as the RVS clearly needs to have am accurate sense of the PCB surface.

But then in 'Fid Correct' I set the X,Y again of those same points. Presumably as the basis for placing the components.

Is the 'Setup Pcb' only establishing the board surface? In which case, the X,Y of Ref 1 & 2 are not super-important? But the 'Fid Correct' positions are key to establishing the position of all the components? Is that right or am I missing something?

TIA Alan

RV Software / Tips for accurate placement?
« on: November 19, 2019, 02:38:29 PM »

Does anyone have any tips for accurate placement? Anything to watch out for? I'm talking in this case about component-to-component mis-alignments rather than the overall calibration onto the PCB. (That might be a separate useful thread  :) ) I usually end up doing a fair amount of nudging of components and that's OK with a small number of chips ... But I have an IR LED board coming up with ~500 very expensive LEDs on it that I would like to be accurate without me nudging each damn one.

Mike, I remember, for instance some images of an 0402 pattern that looked nicely regular. How did you do that?

What are the key factors - vacuum, nozzles, RVPlace settings, power?


RV Software / Weird mouse behaviour
« on: November 12, 2019, 06:46:00 PM »

The RVSetup / RVPlace GUIs on my machine have started doing something odd ... the mouse is sort of trapped in a small space on some dialog boxes e.g. 'Feeder Allocation', which makes those dialogs (and therefore the machine) unusable. Otherwise the mouse behaves fine in Windows and the main body of those two apps. I can't remember doing anything which might have started that behaviour and it seemed to work fine when I last used the machine a few weeks ago ... my memory could be better these days though ... :)

I have had AutoHotkey and TinyVNC installed for some time now and I've used both serial and USB mice with this machine (I get the same behaviour with both kinds of mice). Uninstalling VNC doesn't seem to help any. Reboots and power-recycle don't seem to change the behaviour.

Anyone have any ideas or any debugging steps to fix?

TIA, Alan

RV Hardware / Anyone want any brass inserts for nozzles?
« on: October 03, 2018, 10:43:24 AM »
I'm getting some quotes for these and it seems they need to be made in a big-enough quantity, e.g. 100-off, to be economical. Anyone interested? This is the 'RVT07' design:


RV Hardware / Cal table - want one?
« on: September 03, 2018, 05:52:29 PM »

FYI I'm sending out some stainless and aluminium to be laser cut and and will add in a cal bed and support to the order. Let me know if you want one. I'm guessing about £60.

Something like this:


RV Software / Setting fiducial positions i.e. board alignment
« on: August 06, 2018, 05:41:49 PM »

I'm doing the procedure described by Mike below i.e. fudging the fid positions to make the placement work accurately. Everything is working good, except for the 2nd (i.e. top right) fid, which seems to have a mind of it own. These are 1206s btw.

So - bottom left is good:

...but top right is bad:

And no amount of shifting and 'use current position' seems to help. Anyone come across this or throw some light?

Bonus question - surely all these machines are not so out of alignment that the fid cameras are 0.5mm / 20 mils or so out? Does anyone have a machine where you can align the fids directly with the camera without adding these offsets?


Without recent calibration (which is still under investigation) there will probably be offsets between the fid cam and nozzle, and these will vary with fid position, however these are consistent for a job, so if doing multiple panels then the fid cam is definitely worth using. For a 1-off panel, less so.
In either case start at the "nominal" fid posiitons, do a test place of the top-rightmost and bottom-leftmost parts (use  tag/omit), and tweak the fid positions by looking at the placement errors. I can generally get these bang on after 2-3 attempts, judging the offsets by eye & correcting.
after setting up fids to nominal positions with nozzle in Setup PCB, omit all, un-omit tl/br corner parts.
Use Fid correct, manually move to centre fids in camera, and test place the two parts with DS sticky tape.
Eyeball the offsets and add to the nominal postions when re-fidding.
e.g. if BL part is 10 thou high, and TR one is 25 to left, start with fid at centre of cam, and then move it  up 10 for the , 25 to the left for the second. Repeat until test placements are OK. Note offsets on a post-it & use the same offsets for each subsequent panel.

Don't bother with the auto fid correct unless you find you never have any offsets - just move it manually and "use current position"

RV Hardware / Placing domed 1206 LEDs?
« on: August 02, 2018, 09:11:26 AM »
Anyone tried placing domed 1206 LEDs before:

Specialised tool? Some other way?

TIA, Alan

RV Hardware / Coupla questions re feeders
« on: June 05, 2018, 02:19:21 PM »
+ did anyone figure out the best way to put the whole take-up-spool / o-ring / axle floppy assembly thing back in the feeder body? We managed to fiddle these back in in the end, but I wouldn't call it a technique :)
I made up this hook out of heavy steel wire, so you can assemble with the spring bar at an angle, inside the side cheeks, then pull it out and rotate to the right position

For Sale/Wanted, Suppliers / WTB VPD108 / VPD312316 feeders
« on: March 08, 2018, 04:08:25 PM »
Hi there,

Anyone have a blue 10x8 and/or 3x12 + 3x16 they want to sell?


RV Hardware / Nozzle fabrication/ordering (Nov '17)
« on: November 10, 2017, 10:38:15 AM »
Ah interesting, OK I'll figure out how much I can increase the stop by and put it up on here. BTW here's the 1st quote I got for the acetal part of the conical nozzles. Actually these can be black acetal, black nylon, or black 30% glass filled nylon (I remember somebody suggested that) for roughly the same price. Actually there's a warning on the GF stuff that it may warp afterwards.


RV Hardware / Another new RV1S user and USB2ISA
« on: November 05, 2017, 05:56:31 PM »

We just recently bought the RV1S from Winsom Electronics in Somerset via Grove. We transported it last Thurs and have yet to look at it in detail. Assuming we can get it working to our satisfaction it'll be based in Somerset House in Covent Garden and we'll use it for fast turnaround of low volume projects.

It looks fairly clean and apparently hasn't been used for 6 or 7 years for production work. It looks like an old-ish model as it uses the two RS-232 ports on the host PC rather than on the ISA card and it's running WIN95 right now. The feeders that came with it were 2 off 10x8mm, 1 off 3x12mm + 3x16mm and a vib feeder and we ordered in from Grove a 3x24mm+2x8 feeder also.

I should say thanks to Mike for hosting this forum, and everone who has made contributions. I've scanned every RV hardware & software post and there's a wealth of useful info here.

One obvious question of course is whether it's possible to move it on from WIN97/98. I noticed this ISA->USB adaptor which apparently has a 'UNIVERSAL SOFTWARE LAYER' :)

I guess the only way to know for sure it to buy one and see and I'll probably do this if/when we can get the existing hardware up and running. Any thoughts though? Any possibility of this working?


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